When the operator of a motor vehicle is believed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs and he is under the age of twenty-one (21), he may be arrested and charged with Underage DWI. Underage DWI is a separate statute that regular DWI.
Underage DWI or DUI
A person under that age of 21 is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol if his/her blood alcohol content is .02 or greater. The charge of Underage DWI is a misdemeanor offense. If the driver blows .08 or above, he.she can be charged with the adult-version of DWI, which has stiffer penalties. Keep in mind that the operator, regardless of age, has fifteen (15) days from the date of arrest to request an administrative hearing. He can usually do this through his/her attorney. This is important because the laws regarding suspension of license for refusal and submittal of the breathalyzer or more stringent for underage offenders.
Underage DWI Lawyer in Louisiana
When it comes to younger ones coming of age, there are a lot of privileges that come with it. When a young child reaches the age of 16, they would be able to use a vehicle for their daily activities. What most youngsters do not understand is that the privileges which are given would also call for a measure of responsibility. While this privilege is given to them at the age of 16, the right to consume alcohol is still withheld until the age of 21.
This rule most times is bent and youngsters get involved with alcohol earlier than they are meant to. While that is against the law on its own, it gets even worse when it is linked to DWI which stands for driving while intoxicated.
In Louisiana, DWI is a serious offense and could land you in serious trouble. Anyone which is caught driving while intoxicated would normally have to face penalties. However, things would get interesting if the person caught driving under the influence of alcohol or intoxication is someone which is below the ages of 21 years. So, what happens if a person who is below the age of 21 years is caught driving while intoxicated?
When someone below the age of 21 is caught driving while intoxicated, then the person would be arrested and charged for that offense. However, the charge would for the offense of underage DWI not the normal offense of DWI.
Understanding Underage DWI
When a person who is not up to 21 years is charged with DWI, it is usually called underage DWI. This is usually proved when it is shown that the alcohol content in his blood is more than .02. The truth is that when someone is charged with a misdemeanor. This case can be quite tricky as a blood sample when it is asked for by a police officer cannot be denied. One reason why it is especially important not to get this offense on your books is because of the age precisely. As a young person, you have your whole life ahead of you. You have school, probably sports and even future jobs on your mind. This one offense can put all of that into doubt.
If you live in New Orleans, Jefferson, or St. Tammany and you have been charged with an underage DWI, it is quite easy to panic and feels like it is the end of the world. However, it is not the time to feel that way. If you get this on your cards, then you would most likely have a lot of issues going to the University of your choice or having to get good employment that you would have wanted.
There are several differences between the underage DWI and the normal DWI charge. However, the main issue with underage DWI is that it could be called up if you later get convicted or charged with DWI when you are now an adult.
Unlike the normal DWI charge, the underage is usually only considered to be a misdemeanor. The penalties for violating the underage DWI rules are different. Most times, if you are convicted for the offense of underage DWI charges, you would most likely get a jail term plus fines. However, this can be taken away if you offer to do some sort of community service. You would have to fulfill the hour requirement for the community service which should be about 32 hours.
The judge may decide to include 16 hours of this community service a litter pick up which would be on the roadside. You might also have to take part in programs which would be focused on the abuse of drugs or alcohol. The judge might also see to it that you attend an institution which deals with improving your driving skills. However, if you are a first offender, you would probably not get any jail time which is a plus.
If you wish to avoid the penalties which come from with the underage DWI charge, then you would need to defend yourself in court. To get the most out of the case which is before you, you would need to get yourself a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. If you live in St. Tammany Parish, then you would find good law offices in the area. One of them would be the Barkemeyer Law Firm. This law firm is full of excellent lawyers who have great records when it comes to dealing with these problems.
They also understand that your future might be at stake. Hence, they make it their goal to ensure that you have a great chance should the issue should go to litigation. You can be assured with the Barkemeyer law firm by your side, you would have a great chance of getting a favorable result.
Fine or punishment when found in possession of alcohol
If you are less than 21 and you are found in possession of alcohol in Louisiana while driving, it is usually considered to be a serious offense. You would be facing at least 10 days of jail time which can be upwards to about 6 months. You might also be fined up to $125 which can also climb up to $500. This is to the discretion of the judge.
This offense would be the same irrespective of the fact that no one in the car was drinking. As far there is a container of alcohol in the car that is driven by a person driving who is less than 21 years, then you would most likely be charged for the offense. Getting a criminal defense lawyer in Covington would be the best step which you can take.
We understand that being charged with an offense when you are so young can be an extra burden to carry on your shoulders. We here at Barkemeyer Law Firm would be ready to assist you in whatever way we can. You would find our services quite reassuring.
Contact a Louisiana Underage DWI Attorney
Barkemeyer Law Firm has defended numerous clients arrested and charged with Underage DWI in Louisiana. We take an aggressive approach to handling these types of cases to get the best result possible.